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*The Hughton View

Posted on 30 August 2002  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

It's been a fabulous week and, it doesn't matter what stage of the season it is, you want to win games. For it to happen at the start of a new season, with the expectations from the crowd wanting to get off to a good start - it makes it a marvellous week.

Although we always prepare with success in mind, I must admit I sensed we were going to start well and I felt the same way at the beginning of last season. We've gone into the season with a lot of optimism, we know that the squad needs improving, but it is a good squad providing that we stay clear of major injuries.

You get a general mood from the players - and the mood here has been good. I think we've gone into the season in a confident frame of mind.

Reports on our opening home game against Aston Villa appear to suggest that we were under the cosh for the whole match and somewhat fortunate to emerge with three points. I didn't see this as being the case, not at all.

Would we like to have played better? Yes. We came up against a good Villa side, but we've got to remember that it was a similar situation last year when we played them at home. They played in the Inter Toto Cup last year and did so again this.

Probably from a form and fitness point of view they might have had an edge on us - certainly as far as playing competitive games is concerned. Possibly that showed in part of the game, but I definitely wouldn't agree with reports suggesting they were that much on top. We saw it as a fairly even game.

They did have better opportunities to score than we did but, as regards to general play, it was fairly even.

Moving on, I would have to say that the Charlton game was one of our best away performances for quite some time. I think the only thing that would have capped it perfectly would have been to have got that second goal.

This would have relieved a degree of the pressure that we felt in the latter part of the game.

Many observers praised the team after the Charlton game for showing the resilience and resolve to secure the victory.

How is resilience installed in a team?

One, I think, is personnel, but I think it also comes down to confidence. A good side one week can become a poor side three weeks later without it - when you've done the same work on the training pitch and had the same preparation.

Confidence comes from going into the Charlton game having won the Villa game. In terms of preparation, we knew what kind of game it was going to be. We'd seen them play and we knew that their front two work very hard and that, at times, they'd play the ball in very early.

We had to make the players aware during preparation how difficult a game it was going to be - and how physical it was likely to be. You hope to come up trumps.

There have been occasions in the past when we would have put the exact same things over to the team and it hasn't happened for us. But on this occasion it certainly did.

You can see a team gaining strength through a game. I think sometimes, from an offensive point of view, it could be Simon Davies doing something wonderful and scoring a great goal - that gives everybody a great lift.

Defensively it could be Dean Richards putting his head on the ball for the fifth consecutive time giving us a lift. Or Anthony Gardner making a last-ditch challenge when the ball is coming in down the channel or Taricco blocking a shot on the edge of the box.

What we always try to stress is that these moments are just as important in a game as the offensive elements. I could actually see us going from strength to strength during the game.

If we take a lead off each other and see the responsibilities of each other, then that's what the best teams are about.

We now look forward to Southampton at White Hart Lane on Saturday and have to guard against slipping up and not building on our promising start.

This is the most dangerous time. All due respect to Southampton, but if we were playing Manchester United or Liverpool everyone would know what a battle it is to win those type of games.

We've got to put over to the players that it is about treating this game and approaching it in the same way as the three previous ones.

There is, of course, the opportunity to get points. It's very early in the season and it's almost not worth looking at a league table, but the feeling you get at a club through winning games is one you want to maintain.

It is a great feeling that runs throughout the club and to maintain it means getting on a run.

There have been so many pleasing aspects in the last three games, the introduction of young lads that have come through in the last year or 18 months being one.

We've been absolutely delighted with Matthew Etherington. He might have been disappointed at time last season with not getting the amount of games he would have liked. Things happen in football though, and when you get an opportunity you've got to take it.

Anthony Gardner is getting better with every game and, of course, the same goes for Simon Davies.